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Q & A With Author Sophia L. Stone, Part 2

Read more of the interview with the author of Mormon Diaries.  Sophia L. Stone discusses her views on religion, and what it would take to make the Church a better place for all.

Q:     If the Mormon leadership acknowledged all your major issues and took active steps
toward reforming the faith in a direction you agreed with, would your doubts remain, or do you think you would be able to find a home again in the church?

If the leadership made the following steps, I might be able to stay and feel comfortable, but not because I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. My belief in the church as a God-made institution is probably beyond redemption.

•             Stop claiming Mormonism has more truth than other religions.

•             Recognize baptisms performed by other Christian religions.

•             Ordain women to the priesthood and give them the same opportunities as men.

•             Stop trying to canonize rigid gender roles.

•             Marry same-sex couples in the temple.

•             Allow family members to see their loved ones get married in the temple regardless of
      their standing in the church.

•             Stop requiring people to pay a full tithe to enter the temple.

•             Stop canceling the baptisms and sealings of those who resign or are excommunicated from the church.

•             Get rid of the endowment ceremony or (at the very least) admit openly that it doesn't go back to the time of Solomon.

Q:     Who should read your book?

Anyone who wants to better understand how religions indoctrinate children, how they can unite and separate families, how they can bring peace and turmoil at the same time. Anyone who wants a more personal understanding of how it feels to grow up in a legalistic religion that values trust and obedience more highly than free thought, or anyone who wants to understand Mormonism.

Please don’t misread that to mean my book is factually perfect. It’s not. It is based on my experience, and everyone’s reality is different. But I stand by my claim that people who leave Mormonism are often in an isolating place. It’s hard for an orthodox believer to understand why anyone would leave. It’s hard for those who’ve never been in a fundamentalist religion to understand why leaving one is such a big deal. To both these groups, I’d say, “please read this!” Understanding is vital.

Q:       What do you hope for people who read your book? For non-Mormons, what would
 you like them to take away from it?

For non-Mormons, I'd like an increase of understanding for those who are in the faith. With Mitt Romney in the spotlight lately, I think Mormons have been held up to a lot of ridicule. To an outsider, looking in, there are just so many strange beliefs that make people scratch their heads--aspiring to godhood, wearing sacred underwear, believing in a planet called Kolob. How can anyone believe this stuff? It just seems incomprehensible. I mean, Richard Dawkins has been calling Romney an idiot for weeks just because he believes this stuff, and Richard Dawkins is an intelligent man. At least, I thought he was an intelligent man . . .

Does Dawkins not realize that if every important person in a child's life tells him that purple is actually green from birth until death, the child will have no reason to believe otherwise? Does Dawkins not realize that if you send that child on a mission, make him knock on doors for two years with limited contact from his family in an effort to convince the world that purple is actually green, that he will become more entrenched in that idea? Does Dawkins not realize that any belief, no matter how bizarre it is to the mainstream, can seem perfectly reasonable if it's embraced by nearly every significant influence around you?

Sophia L. Stone is the author of Mormon Diaries. She's a seeker, learner, reader, and nature Lover. If you're on twitter, you can ask her any question about Mormonism @ask_a_mormon


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Welcome to The Peacewriter.

We all want to belong somewhere, to someone. It is a basic human need.

If you have ever experienced a period of doubt or questioned your beliefs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that this is not a minor thing. It is tantamount to a crisis, and one that can be life altering.

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